While the idea of a smart home might initially sound expensive and overwhelming, the truth is, investing in the right solutions can transform your lifestyle and save you money.
Did you know in the last two years there was a 64 percent increase in the number of smart home devices worldwide, and this year the number of devices shipped is predicted to skyrocket to 130 million?
That’s a lot of devices! Smart home devices can change the relationship you have with your home, impact your day-to-day in a positive way, and ultimately make your life easier.
They’re an intelligent alternative to traditional home security
From connected doorbells to automatic locks to cameras, home security has entered the era of mobility. Now that most of us are carrying miniature computers in our pockets, we have the ability to stay connected to our homes even when we’re away — a huge contributor to peace of mind.
Smart door locks, like Kwikset and August, let you grant access to your home when you’re not there. No more hiding a key under the doormat and hoping it doesn’t get into the wrong hands — now you have control to unlock the front door at the exact moment that the cable guy or cleaning service arrives, and ensure the entrance is locked once they leave.
Beyond locks, cameras can be a remote pair of eyes, and some even work with smart locks, automatically turning on when the lock is accessed. Canary and Nest Cam alert you in real time on your phone if any motion is triggered, which allows you to view what’s going on inside and out of your home from any location.
They lower your electricity bill
Sure, it can be daunting when you see the cost of many smart home devices. But what if we told you many of these solutions could end up paying for themselves? That’s potentially an investment worth making.
When it comes to lowering your monthly bills, products like smart thermostats have the ability to learn your habits and automatically adjust to eco-friendly temperatures. When you consider that heating and cooling costs make up nearly 50 percent of your energy bill, a smart thermostat like Ecobee or Nest could save you a big chunk of change. Nest’s Learning Thermostat can help you save up to 12 percent on heating bills and 15 percent on cooling bills, which means the investment pays for itself in less than two years.
Smart lighting systems are another way to save an extra buck. Light switches and plugs can automatically shut off lamps and electronics when they aren’t in use or if you’re not home, meaning no more energy wasted on illuminating an empty room. Retrofitting the lighting and plugs you already have can reduce your energy use by 29 percent, which leads to a payback time of less than two and half years. GE’s Link LED bulbs in particular use 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and the bulbs have been proven to last more than 20 years!
They enhance your lifestyle
There are tons of smart home products that are fun, nice-to-haves. When you consider investing in these products, make sure to choose ones that complement your lifestyle.
Beyond cost-savings, smart lights can change the way you interact with your home. Philips Hue or LIFX bulbs can adjust to match your ideal home ambience, whether you want the lighting in your home to change with the weather or you want to create the perfect home theater experience by adjusting the lights to match your TV so you can feel even closer to the action on screen. You can even set the bulbs to automatically change to your home team’s colors on game day — how’s that for team spirit?!
If you’re constantly streaming music, smart speakers like Sonos make a great add-on to your smart home list because they integrate with services you’re probably already using, like Pandora and Spotify. With a multi-speaker setup, you can play music in multiple rooms throughout your house — Sonos systems can connect up to nine speakers through your Wi-Fi. You can also find IFTTT (If This Then That) recipes that will trigger your speakers to start playing automatically when you come home.
They can act as your very own personal assistant
Voice-activated devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home make it even easier to manage your day-day by helping you stay on top of the news, check your schedule, and even control other apps and many of the smart devices we’ve already mentioned.
Here are some of the useful and fun things a voice-activated assistant can do for you:
- Be your personal sommelier, suggesting wines that will pair best with your dinner. Or even order you a pizza.
- After said pizza, guide you through a workout at home, leading you through exercises proven to boost metabolism and energy levels.
- Start a shopping list for you, or with Alexa, even place an order to have groceries delivered to your doorstep.
- Report airport security line wait times before you leave the house. And then order you an Uber to take you there.
They ultimately make you more aware of what’s happening in your home
We’ve entered an era where we all expect to have information at our fingertips, and one of the biggest advantages of smart home products is the data you’ll have access to about your home. In the long run, all this data can help you make smarter decisions on how to keep your home healthy and safe, but this wealth of information might be overwhelming at times.
Smart IoT sensors, another smarthome tool to add to your arsenal, can bring even more information about your home to your smart device. From making sure your garage and windows are closed when you’re not home, to letting you know if a water leak is detected or alarm goes off, smart sensors give you a little extra peace of mind about your home so you can focus more on living.
Sensors will soon become an integrated part of standard home insurance packages, moving the insurance model away from reactive claims processing (like rebuilding after a fire, or replacing items after a break-in) to proactive insurance, allowing home insurance carriers to catch issues before they cause damage. Recent studies show that 87 percent of insurance carriers believe installation of smart sensors will improve customer relationships and will allow for further personalization of policy offerings, leading to a new IoT — the Insurance of Things. Whether you start receive sensors from your insurance provider, or want to invest in them yourself, these helpful tools could save you a headache (and some serious cash).